1 a : the arrangement of actors and scenery on a stage for a theatrical production
b : stage setting
2 a : the physical setting of an action (as of a narrative or a motion picture) : context
Did You Know?
In French, mise en scène literally means "the action of putting onto the stage." The term's use originated in stage drama, where it refers to the way actors and scenery props are arranged; as its usage expanded into other narrative arts, its meaning shifted. In film production, mise en scène refers to all of the elements that comprise a single shot; that includes, but is not limited to, the actors, setting, props, costumes, and lighting. The director of a play or film is called the metteur en scène—literally, "one who puts on the stage."
"For the night of his election last May …, he arranged a dramatic mise-en-scène: while loudspeakers played Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy,' the new president walked alone across the courtyard of the Louvre as spotlights threw his larger-than-life shadow on the façade of the former royal palace." — Tom Sancton, Vanity Fair, May 2018
"The action … took place around me as if I were invisible, though that illusion was quickly dispelled when a large rectangular mirror was wheeled to within a few feet of where I sat. Gulp. The plot may not have thickened at that point, but my self-consciousness surely did. Like it or not, I was now part of the mise-en-scène…." — David Weiss, Newsweek, 17 Nov. 2017
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